By Abraham Gutierrez
With a bye week to regroup, get everyone healthy and on the same page for the second quarter of the 2015 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders submitted a rather short Week 7 injury report prior to their clash against the San Diego Chargers. In fact, Jack Del Rio and his staff didn't take long to turn in their weekly document, as there were only five Raider players slowed by injury in preparation for the Bolts game.
That said, Raider Nation should be a little concern heading into what has to be considered a must-win for Oakland's playoff hopes. That's because two of the five injured players are part of the Silver and Black's running game, an area where the Raiders have struggled to get going through the first six games.
Even though they are both listed as "probable" to take the field, the Raiders' first and second-string halfbacks had their names penciled in this week's hobbled group. Starting running back, Latavius Murray, has been battling a shoulder injury for several weeks and his production has taken a dive. After recording a career-high, 139 yards on 26 carries in Week 3 against the Browns, the third-year pro out of Central Florida has disappeared. Dealing with a lingering shoulder injury, Murray has tallied just 88 yards on 28 carries and has not reached the end zone during the Raiders two-game skid.
With a golden opportunity to step up and capitalize on Murray's woes, back-up running back, Taiwan Jones, has spent more time in the nurse's office than in the Raiders backfield. In his fifth season out of Eastern Washington, the 27-year-old from San Francisco hasn't been able to shake off a foot injury that's landed him on the injury report since Week 4.
Thus, Jones' production has left a lot to be desired as he comes out of the bye with a dismal 30 yards on seven carries in three games played. Considering the Chargers' running defense ranks 29th in the league, this would seem like an opportune time for Jones, or Murray, to step up and provide Oakland's offense with some much-needed balance.
Another key player whose name appears on the Raiders' NFL Week 7 injury report is none other than future Hall of Fame safety, Charles Woodson. Battling the same shoulder injury suffered in Week 1, the former Heisman Trophy winner is coming off a full participation in practice and will be ready to pick off ultra-aggressive Chargers signal-caller, Philip Rivers, on Sunday.
On a bit of a sour note, Raider Nation will be without the services of defensive end, Denico Autry. In his second-year out of Mississippi State, the 25-year-old from lbemarle, North Carolina, was unable to clear concussion protocol and will miss his second game this season. Autry went into the bye having recorded just four tackles and a pass defended.
Can Oakland overcome injuries to its running back corps and stun the betting favorite Chargers in San Diego this week? Here's a look at the Raiders NFL Week 7 injury report and game statuses:
Oakland Raiders NFL Injury Report & Game Statuses (Week 7)
RB Taiwan Jones (Foot) - Full Participation in Practice
RB Latavius Murray (Shoulder) - Full Participation in Practice
S Charles Woodson (Shoulder) - Full Participation in Practice
DT Justin Ellis (Ankle) - Did Not Participate In Practice
DE Denico Autry (Concussion) - Did Not Participate In Practice
Abe Gutierrez's (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, aExaminer.com and other online publications.
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